23 votes

Help, I cannot decide when to start the story

You should definitely tell the story you want to tell, and not some backstory that leads up to it. You are not starting your story at the point that would make sense if you were writing a ...
sesquipedalias's user avatar
21 votes

Is it bad if I sidetrack to a backstory that’s not really necessary but is interesting?

I think that you already know you have to cut it. I know you are emotionaly attached to it but, if it doesn't move the plot forward and if it doesn't help establish character,... well, as you said, it'...
Ælis's user avatar
  • 660
19 votes

Help, I cannot decide when to start the story

When asked some variant of "Where do I start?" my mom likes to joke "Start at the beginning, go all the way through the middle, and when you get to the end, stop." In this case, that might make sense. ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Help, I cannot decide when to start the story

Nearly all stories, including novels and movies and even comic book series, begin with the MC in their "normal world." There is no law demanding that, other than the laws of economics: We want the ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
16 votes
Accepted

How do I show and not tell a backstory?

The bare minimum is not the backstory The bare minimum that you need to show is not the backstory, but whether the MC is convinced about Matt's good character. For instance, Arthur Conan Doyle does ...
NofP's user avatar
  • 10.6k
15 votes

How do I know when and if a character requires a backstory?

First and foremost, every character requires a backstory in your mind. You need to know who they are, why they act in a certain way, how they would respond to new situations, etc. Once you have that ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
13 votes

Would this be considered racist?

Short answer: No. I'm a Black person, and I think I can tell you from a literary and minority standpoint that this isn't racist. 1) Fire Flame-like palettes have always gone well with darker skin ...
Sister Student's user avatar
12 votes

Innovative Ways to Provide Background Information

I wouldn't call this innovative, just borrowing a technique from other walks of life. The Sandwich method. You start with something they like, then something they might like less, then immediately ...
Fayth85's user avatar
  • 5,421
12 votes
Accepted

When do you reveal a backstory of a character?

Reveal It Whenever It Has the Most Emotional Impact Like many things in writing, there is no one "right" way to do everything. You could reveal the backstory of the character at the ...
Nyctophobia457's user avatar
11 votes

Innovative Ways to Provide Background Information

The least obtrusive way to deliver background information is to leave it out. ...for now. You are painting an action scene with your words. Your goal is to keep the reader spellbound, excited and ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 10.8k
10 votes

How do I show and not tell a backstory?

Building on Amadeus's answer, what you want to avoid is your character monologuing his backstory. Sometimes, a monologue can be done. If that story is gripping, and the scene is such that it makes ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

How do I know when and if a character requires a backstory?

A backstory needs to matter to the story; in this case it probably matters to the MC; few people fall in love with a person they know nothing about. They fall in lust, certainly, and that lust can ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
9 votes
Accepted

Is writing big facts about a character's background good when first introducing them?

There are many styles of story-telling. Consider, for example, the start of the Lord of the Rings: Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar, and had been the wonder of the Shire for sixty years, ever ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
9 votes

Can the prologue be the backstory of your main character?

Prologues are usually boring, because they are almost inevitably history lessons that have no suspense or action and they feel like a history lesson, right after lunch, and a snooze fest. You would ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
9 votes

Help, I cannot decide when to start the story

As far as we know, in our Universe all stories could start from the Big Bang. Or from the primordial soup if we want to stick to living beings on planet Earth. Does it make sense to do so? Imagine ...
NofP's user avatar
  • 10.6k
9 votes

How to give out a character’s backstory without info-dumping?

In every job interview I've ever had, when asked to tell something about myself I bring up the massive cake I had for my seventh birthday. You will not believe the size of this thing, or the time and ...
Anna A. Fitzgerald's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How to subtly portray a secret relationship

I'd fall back once again on the Iceberg Theory. Go ahead and fully flesh out their entire relationship --for your own benefit. But only include the details in the story that would naturally come to ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
8 votes

Is it bad if I sidetrack to a backstory that’s not really necessary but is interesting?

Have you considered revealing the backstory piecemeal? If the other child survives whatever kills the first, maybe the first child will be regularly fleshed out by the survivor's thoughts, feelings, ...
Matthew Dave's user avatar
  • 9,134
7 votes

How important is the apocalypse in a post-apocalyptic story?

Nope. You don't have to give the backstory at all. Sometimes it's just not important to the story. Do make sure the reader understands the setting, but then just tell your tale. That being said, ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
7 votes

Help, I cannot decide when to start the story

Have you considered telling both stories at the same time? Alternate chapters between the old and the new world. How the two worlds are related to each other can be left open in the beginning and ...
Roman Reiner's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Lost my ‘magic’ concerning characters

I quote Natalie Goldberg a lot because I love how, in Writing Down The Bones, she talks about ideas like compost. You throw in all the kitchen scraps and dead leaves and give them time to break down. ...
GGx's user avatar
  • 9,923
7 votes
Accepted

Doubt about a particular point of view on how to do character creation

This makes sense to me because my characters act in very similar ways. Have you ever been in a novel situation in your own life where you did something unexpected? Maybe you intervened when someone ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
6 votes
Accepted

Too much death in character backstories? Even in a horror game?

I would write this as a comment to @What's answer, but I don't have enough points for that. I will focus on two things when trying to answer your question. The first: Agreeing with @What; contrast ...
storbror's user avatar
  • 2,656
6 votes

Can the prologue be the backstory of your main character?

It can, but there are other ways you might want to handle it. The risk of making a prologue a backstory is you might end up with an info dump. Sometimes they are useful, but take it too far and you ...
Rasdashan's user avatar
  • 12.3k
6 votes

Doubt about a particular point of view on how to do character creation

You're asking how a character, a creation of your imagination, can have free will. It's not easy for me to answer, because "they do". On a very fundamental level, that's what happens when I write. I '...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
5 votes

Tackling backstory while writing multiple POVs

SIDENOTE: Most writers seem to agree that writing the backstory for yourself is important, and this can be an important first step toward the goal you've expressed here. I encourage you to write those ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
5 votes

How to subtly portray a secret relationship

I like the answers I've seen so far. I may also suggest something subtle like one of them being thoughtful or cautious regarding how they answer a question about the other, such as their current ...
Canis Animus's user avatar
5 votes

Is writing big facts about a character's background good when first introducing them?

I don't think the problem is that you are saying things like this at the beginning of a story. I think it's how you're saying them. It seems to me that are are telling rather than showing. Here's an ...
robertcday's user avatar
  • 7,743
5 votes

Is writing big facts about a character's background good when first introducing them?

This feels like a classic example of telling rather than showing. Think about it. In both of your examples, the narrator is telling things to the reader. There's no real story going on there; it's ...
user's user avatar
  • 3,754
5 votes

Innovative Ways to Provide Background Information

Movies and books are different mediums. With a skillfully engineered scene, a movie director can deliver enormous amounts of information in seconds; a 30 second chase scene tells us all we need to ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k

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